Tuesday, November 30, 2021

ARC Review: A Murder Yule Regret by Winnie Archer

Title: A Murder Yule Regret
Series: A Bread Shop Mystery #7
Author: Winnie Archer
Source/Format: Netgalley; eARC
More Details: Cozy Mystery
Publisher/Publication Date: Kensington Publishing; November 30, 2021

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Synopsis from Goodreads...
Freelance photographer and Yeast of Eden bakery assistant Ivy Culpepper has just scored the job of a lifetime shooting the Dickensian dress-up X-mas party thrown by It Girl film actress Eliza Fox...until an unwanted guest appears. 
A holiday costume party in the sleepy coastal town of Santa Sofia could be just the boost Ivy needs for her fledgling photography business. At the party, Ivy enters a Victorian fantasy come to life, all courtesy of the fabulous Ms. Fox. Ivy gets to play shutterbug while hanging with Scrooge, Marley, the Cratchits, and more classic Dickens characters. But what begins as the best of times turns out to be the very worst for one of the party guests--a tabloid journalist with more enemies than Ebenezer himself. When the man's body is found sprawled across the jagged rocks below the house, the fingers begin pointing at Eliza. Meanwhile, Ivy gets roped into helping prove the starlet's innocence. Her festive photos are now official evidence--and the Ghosts of Christmas Present could mean the party for Eliza is over, once and for all.

I’ve been into cozy mysteries lately, and this year’s selection has been really great. One of my latest forays into it is Winnie Archer’s A Murder Yule Regret. Based on the title, I knew this was going to be a holiday themed whodunit, and I have to say that the story delivered on all fronts.

I really had a lot of fun with this story. While the setting was still small town-ish, it was set in California, so the winter scenery was far more moderate. No snow or anything like that—mostly gorgeous views of the ocean—but the descriptions of the decorations and baked goods (because this story has a strong baking theme with the bread shop), certainly allowed for a festive atmosphere.

The mystery was also another highlight. The way it started was handled really great actually. The story had such an even pace, and it just flowed smoothly from one scene to the next. The mystery surrounding Eliza, her past, and the connection to the victim made for a page turner of a story.

The characters were also very charming. The whole cast was great. But I especially loved Ivy’s baking, sleuthing, and her adorable pug, Agatha. Her day-to-day life was as interesting as the mystery portion of the story, and I enjoyed all the scenes she shared with her boyfriend, friends, and family. Eliza Fox, the actress, was also an endearing character. There was something so earnest about her, and I liked how much she was in the story.

Overall, A Murder Yule Regret is another great cozy mystery, and it’s right on time for the holiday season.

About the author...
Melissa Bourbon Ramirez is the national bestselling author of seventeen mystery books, including the Lola Cruz Mysteries, A Magical Dressmaking Mystery series, and the Bread Shop Mysteries, written as Winnie Archer. She is a former middle school English teacher who gave up the classroom in order to live in her imagination full time. Melissa, a California native who has lived in Texas and Colorado, now calls the southeast home. She hikes, practices yoga, cooks, and is slowly but surely discovering all the great restaurants in the Carolinas. Since four of her five amazing kids are living their lives, scattered throughout the country, her dogs, Bean, the pug, Dobby, the chug, and Jasper, a cattle dog/lab keep her company while she writes. Melissa lives in North Carolina with her educator husband, Carlos, and their youngest son. She is beyond fortunate to be living the life of her dreams.

Disclaimer: this copy of the book was provided by the publisher (Kensington Books) via NetGalley for this review, thank you!

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